terça-feira, 25 de outubro de 2016

Calais camp scuffles break out as refugees queue to leave

Calais camp scuffles break out as refugees queue to leave
Riot police kettle hundreds of migrants and refugees as they queue for buses taking them to accommodation centres across France

Lisa O'Carroll in Calais and Alice Ross
Tuesday 25 October 2016 09.12 BST

Scuffles have broken out on the second day of an attempt by French authorities to clear the Calais refugee camp, with at least one person removed on a stretcher as French riot police kettled hundreds of migrants and refugees as they queued for buses taking them to accommodation centres across the country.

Police appeared to struggle as hundreds of children penned into a small area outside a processing centre became impatient and anxious to get to the front of the queue.

Hundreds of people were forced to sit on the road outside the warehouse, where they are being processed. Volunteers arrived speaking Pashto to the mainly Afghan boys and young men at the front of the queue.

Police armed with handguns, Tasers and gas canisters then formed a line and pushed the press back before then pushing the children back. Calm was eventually restored after the small area allocated to the children was widened.

Almost 2,000 refugees and migrants from the camp passed through official registration on Monday and were being transported by bus to regions across France. An estimated 8,000 remain to be processed, the French interior ministry said.

Nearly 200 under-18s have arrived in the UK in recent days and hundreds more are expected to arrive, the home secretary, Amber Rudd, told parliament on Monday. However, a quarter of English councils have refused to take part in resettling refugees.

The French government is “determined to stop people coming back to Calais”, the French ambassador to London, Sylvie Bermann, told Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We won’t let them come,” she said. “It has to be clear that Calais is a blind alley and you can’t come to this country.” Refugees who do turn up at the former site in the hope of reaching the UK will be transported to other parts of the country and “convinced to claim asylum in France”, she said.

Authorities hope that demolition crews can move in later on Tuesday to start tearing down the camp, one of the biggest in Europe, where thousands of people have been living in dire conditions. The operation is set to continue until Wednesday.

Christian Salome, the head of the Auberge des Migrants (migrants’ hostel) charity, told AFP the process was “working well because these are people who were waiting impatiently to leave”.

“I’m much more concerned about later in the week when the only ones remaining are those who do not want to leave, who still want to reach England,” he said, estimating their number at about 2,000.

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